R&D Institutions

Resultado da avaliação 2007 na área de Sociologia, Antropologia, Demografia e Geografia

Unidade de I&D

Centro de Investigação em Sociologia e Antropologia-Augusto Silva [SOC-Alentejo-Evora-4093] visitada em 08/10/2007

Classificação: Fair

Comentários do painel de avaliação
Sobre a unidade
Despite its rather brief formal existence, the CISA is not without potential, especially in the light of its regional anchorage. Indeed, since its creation, the unit/group has been intensively engaged in applied research covering a wide area of subjects that are relevant for the socio-economic problems of the Alentejo region. The researchers of CISA are thus able to offer insights for solutions based on their scientific research.
Nevertheless, it has to be recognized that, until now, the focus on regional and local problems has afforded little incentives to be present on the international level and that the engagement of CISA in applied research has hardly lead to theoretical developments. These drawbacks and difficulties are in part due to the fact that the resources of CISA are largely dependent upon demands of the region and municipalities. This situation induces a fragmentation of the topics studied, a relative economic insecurity for the (near) future and a difficulty in developing a coherent scientific programme.
We have to add that, in so far as the objectives and the main achievements are concerned, the written report is formulated in very general terms, thus giving the impression that the unit has no clear vision of its intentional identity or of its projects.
Taking all this into account, the evaluation panel suggests:
The CISA should focalize on a few key areas (e.g. social health, tourism…) in order to define its core concern rather than to work on a centrifugal conglomerate of issues. These latter are not only difficult to coordinate but, more to the point, by over diversifying their work, the researchers encounter difficulties in raising theoretical questions and thus build cumulative knowledge. Furthermore, with such a dispersal of interests, it is hard to make one’s mark internationally. It is not easy to construct one’s substantial collective image when a researcher is concerned by the impact of tourism, another one by the human desertification of the region, a third by sustainable development, a fourth by gender. The panel understands that this dispersal is the result of the fact that CISA depends too much on meeting extraneous demands as well as of its current contractual practice ; but it considers that in the long run, this is counterproductive not only from a scientific point of view but also for the relevance of the applied research.
The CISA should formulate more cogently not only its involvement or implication in issues of regional identity but the scientific or scholarly project with which the CISA would like to be identified. Therefore it has to capitalize theoretically its punctual involvement in particular projects, seeking to create innovative analytical concepts (which ‘democracy’ or ‘tourist experience’ do not represent!) able to contribute to its (inter)national renown.

The members of CISA said that they have many national and international contacts. While this is no doubt true these links remain informal. The CISA should consolidate these contacts by affording them a formally binding frame of reference and by giving them concrete expression through the formulation and submission of research projects, the realisation of publications, and the exchange of researchers,…
Strategic alliances and networks will have to be developed so that this unit can get integrated better in the (inter)national scientific community. Two strategies should be followed at the same time. The first strategic line should foster interregional synergies with units/groups working on the same themes (e.g. tourism) and being (and finding or feeling themselves in the same kind of «marginal» localisations, in order to stimulate comparative studies. The second and concomitant strategic line should tend towards an association with some pole of excellence in the fields under study. This could help them to take scientific distance from the local/regional situation and to upgrade the theoretical perspective. In the same line of thought, the CISA should pioneer the tutoring and monitoring of the PHD students collaborating in their researches, by organising seminars and by concluding linkage with international Doctoral Schools dedicated to the issues selected for intellectual investment by the CISA.
A particular point: the panel members do not share CISA’s enthusiasm for the launching of a new journal. Not only would this be a waste of time and energy but could come to be a protectionist strategy, dissuading the unit members from publishing in existing (international) journals.
Sobre os grupos de investigação
Society, Culture and Territory [RG-SOC-Alentejo-Evora-4093-2456]